When business is slow it is sometimes tempting to take business that we should not take and to forget that the customer is not always right.
We overprice the home to get the listing, and then we are stuck with a listing that we can’t sell. Maybe we thought it was priced right, but it won’t sell — and we don’t want to go that extra 10 rounds with our client to convince the client that a price reduction is in order.
When we go along with what the customer or client wants, we are not acting in the client’s best interests, or even in our own. And that rule applies to matters other than price, too. Today’s sellers are real estate experts because they have access to the Internet and they have friends or relatives who recently sold a home.
Sellers can learn from reality TV and they can read free advice on websites with free home valuations. In some cases, sellers may hear the answers they want from an agent in another state — though the laws and regulations may not be the same in that state.
Sellers can get a second opinion on most anything, and they can find someone who agrees with them.
The seller will tell us that the teddy bear collection needs to stay in the family room because people like teddy bears and they make the place look homey, and that will attract buyers. This happened to an agent who I worked with several years ago. He struggled for months to sell the home, and agent feedback referred to the clutter in the family room.
Last year I turned down a listing because the seller said he wasn’t in any hurry to sell the place, and so he wanted me to overprice it and he said that he wanted an open house every weekend because he said that is how homes are sold.
I cannot imagine sitting in an overpriced home every Sunday and having my sign in front if it. When I said no to the listing, the seller said he was disappointed — but that was over a year and two agents ago.
The best way to serve our clients is to use our expertise and experience to sell the property. It isn’t easy to argue with clients, and I hate it when I have to tell them that I don’t agree with their friends or even the brilliant idea their parents had. I feel like I always have to be the bad guy.
I once worked with a seller who decided that pictures of the insides of the cupboards would be better for marketing her home than the picture of her living room with the brick fireplace and the piano windows.
She wanted to make sure the prospective buyers knew about the Lazy Susan and all the shelves in the pantry. She took the pictures herself and she used a flash. She also had these little printed tags she wanted to put around the house to call buyers’ attention to some pretty obvious features.
The customer or client is not always right. They deserve to be treated with respect, and we should always listen to what they have to say because it is their home and they are the stakeholder.
People hire us because we know how to sell real estate, and we need to know when to say no.
I remember a seller I had who wanted me to show up at the home for each showing so I could point out the home’s features to the prospective buyer. He wanted me to point to the wood paneling and the new windows and the walk-in closet.
My experience with this home taught that there are people who will buy homes with wall-to-wall powder-blue sculpted carpeting that no one showed them or pointed out to them.
One seller was so proud of his custom dark green miniblinds that I had to go 10 rounds with him to get him to agree to leave them open for showings so that the room did not look like a dark cave.
He wanted prospective buyers to see them. I wanted him to take them down, but leaving them open and pulled all the way up was an acceptable compromise.
Anyone who has sold real estate can relate to this. Home sellers have their own opinions and a confusing array of third-party information at their fingertips, and sometimes the best customer service we can provide is the ability to say no — because the customer is not always right.